How to Clean a Stainless Steel Refrigerator

Keeping your stainless steel refrigerator looking shiny and new can seem daunting, but with the right techniques and products, it’s easy to keep it sparkling clean. Maintaining the cleanliness of your refrigerator not only keeps it looking great, but also helps extend the life of the appliance.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to clean all parts of your stainless steel refrigerator.

Gathering the Necessary Supplies

Before you start cleaning, you’ll want to gather the following supplies:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Mild detergent (dish soap works well)
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Clean towel or paper towels

It’s important to use non-abrasive materials on stainless steel to avoid scratching the surface. Never use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads, as they can damage the finish.

Why These Supplies?

Here’s a breakdown of why we recommend these specific supplies:

  • Microfiber cloths are extremely effective at cleaning stainless steel without leaving behind lint or scratches.
  • Mild detergent helps lift dirt and grease when mixed with water. Make sure to use a non-abrasive formula.
  • White vinegar is a natural degreaser and disinfectant that helps remove stubborn fingerprints and food residue without chemicals. It also eliminates odors.
  • A soft-bristle brush allows you to gently scrub stuck-on dirt and stains from the textured surfaces and crevices of the refrigerator without causing any scratches.
  • Clean towels are useful for drying surfaces and buffing out excess water spots. Paper towels work too.

Preparing the Refrigerator

Before diving into cleaning, you need to properly prepare your refrigerator:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator. This ensures that you can safely clean without any electrical risk.
  2. Remove all food and shelves. Taking everything out allows you to access and clean all areas of the refrigerator. Place perishable items in a cooler bag to keep cold.
  3. Let it come to room temperature. Allowing the refrigerator to warm prevents condensation from forming when you clean, which can lead to streaking and water marks.

Once your fridge is prepped, you’re ready to start cleaning!

Cleaning the Exterior Stainless Steel Surfaces

The exterior stainless steel surfaces of your refrigerator have likely collected fingerprints, drips, dust, and other dirt and grime. Here is a foolproof method for getting it sparkling clean:

Step 1: Mix a Cleaning Solution

Mix together in a spray bottle:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild dish detergent
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

The dish soap in this solution helps cut through oil and grease, while the vinegar disinfects and deodorizes.

Step 2: Spray and Wipe Down All Surfaces

Spray the cleaning solution directly onto stainless steel surface areas of your refrigerator. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the doors, handles, sides, top and back of the appliance.

Important: Always wipe in the direction of the grain on stainless steel. This preserves the brushed finish.

Step 3: Spot Clean Stubborn Areas

Check for any remaining dirt or stains. If you notice any stubborn spots, spray them directly with the cleaning mixture. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes. Use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the area, then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.

Vinegar is excellent for dissolving stuck-on grime and water spots. It will cut through even the most stubborn stains with some light scrubbing from a brush.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

Give all cleaned exterior surfaces a final wipe down with a microfiber cloth dampened only with water to remove any leftover cleaning solution residue. Buff dry immediately with a clean towel. Allowing water to air dry can lead to unsightly water spots.

And that’s it! With these simple steps, the exterior of your stainless steel refrigerator should be sparkling clean.


By gathering the right supplies and following these simple step-by-step instructions, you can easily clean both the interior and exterior of your stainless steel refrigerator.

Here is a quick recap of the key steps:

  1. Unplug refrigerator and remove food/shelves
  2. Let fridge reach room temperature
  3. Mix cleaning solutions (one for interior, one for exterior)
  4. Wipe down all surfaces with microfiber cloth and solutions
  5. Use soft-bristle brush for stuck-on dirt and stains
  6. Rinse surfaces with damp microfiber cloth to remove residue
  7. Dry thoroughly with clean towel immediately

Regularly cleaning your stainless steel refrigerator helps maintain its pristine appearance and can extend its lifespan. But don’t wait until it looks dirty to clean it! Follow these tips above to keep your fridge constantly looking like new.

How should I clean my stainless steel refrigerator?

You should use a soft, lint-free cloth or paper towel dampened with a stainless steel cleaner or mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive pads or cleaners that can scratch the surface. Wipe in the direction of the grain to avoid noticeable scratch marks.

How often should I clean my stainless steel refrigerator?

You should wipe down the exterior at least once a week to maintain its luster and fingerprint-resistance. Pay close attention to handles and doors that see a lot of hands. Clean up spills right away before they have a chance to dry and stain.

Why does my stainless steel refrigerator look dull and cloudy?

Mineral deposits in water and residue left behind from food and grease can lead to a dull, cloudy look. Use a stainless steel cleaner and polish weekly to prevent build-up. For a deep clean, use an abrasive pad with grain to work out stubborn stains and restore the shine.

How do I get fingerprints off my stainless steel refrigerator?

The best way is to use a microfiber cloth, dampened with a little stainless steel cleaner, to gently wipe off fingerprints and smudges. Rub lightly in the direction of the grain. Avoid pressing too hard, which can push around grease instead of lifting it away.

Can I use bleach or other harsh cleaners on my stainless steel?

No. Harsh cleaners like bleach, ammonia, acetone, and abrasive powders can damage the protective coating. They can cause pitting, scratching, discoloration, and rust over time. Always use a gentle cleaner formulated specifically for stainless steel.

How do I get rid of scratches on my stainless steel refrigerator?

Use a specialty scratch polish, rubbing compound, or stainless steel polish to help minimize the appearance of fine scratches. Apply a small amount to the scratch using a soft cloth and rub in the direction of the grain lines using gentle, circular motions. Most minor scratches can be buffed out this way.

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